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  • Writer's pictureTobe Sheldon

5 Tips for a Regenerative New Year

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

As the longest night of the year gives way to the returning light, we are reminded of the power of new beginnings. The start of a new year provides a unique opportunity to reflect on our impact on the world and to make choices that contribute to a happier, healthier home. Here are five actionable tips for embracing a regenerative lifestyle in the coming year:

1. Sow the Seeds of Change

Embrace the concept of "plantable products" and become an environmentally conscious consumer. Consider using plantable greeting cards, business cards, coasters, wristbands, boxes, product tags, and more. Companies like Bloomin Promotions, Custom Earth Promos, and Botanical Paperworks offer seed paper products that grow into plants, reducing waste and adding beauty.

Seed paper products are an excellent way to enhance your celebrations, pay tribute to loved ones, or showcase your company's dedication to sustainable business practices. Making environmentally friendly seed-infused products a perfect addition to your regenerative new year!

Seed Paper Products

2. Connect with Nature Through Restoration

Embracing nature restoration projects offers an enriching path to environmental stewardship and personal well-being. By actively participating in these initiatives, individuals can make a tangible difference in the health of our planet while also reaping personal benefits. With a vast array of restoration projects available worldwide, chances are high that you can find one in your locality or make it part of your eco-vacation with Adventure Scientists. This accessibility means that everyone can make a meaningful contribution to environmental preservation. A few you may look into include revitalizing soil, riparian restoration, forest management, coral reef restoration, and planting mangroves.

Not interested in manual labor? Here are some alternative ways to contribute:

  • There are ample opportunities to contribute for those who prefer roles not involving physical labor. Skills in website management, policy change advocacy, grant writing, or other organizational tasks are invaluable to these projects.

  • These alternative roles are critical in communication, fundraising, and coordination, which are essential for the success of any restoration project.

However you choose to contribute, you can’t go wrong with adding a restoration project to your Regenerative New Year.

Restoration in progress

3. Tackle Food Waste

Food waste is a major problem globally. Approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, about one-third of all produced, is wasted annually. This wastes resources and has significant environmental implications, contributing to methane emissions. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with about 28 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.

Here are a couple of practical steps to tackle food waste:

  • Sharing Surplus Food: Actively sharing surplus food with those in need reduces waste. Innovative apps like Olio in the United Kingdom are revolutionizing this process by connecting people with excess food to those who need it, fostering community ties, and reducing waste. Explore the resources available in your community, or consider how you can contribute to change.

  • Composting Practices: Regularly composting food scraps is vital. While outdoor composters may not always be practical, you can invest in an indoor composter like Lomi or GEME to prevent food scraps from going to the landfill. With a wide range of options, choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and budget. By effectively managing food waste, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

Child with apples

4. Fashion as a Force for Good

Fashion has a substantial environmental footprint, but we can achieve significant positive change by making mindful choices in our clothing. Embracing sustainable fashion practices involves more than just waste reduction; it also means supporting eco-friendly manufacturing and ethical labor practices. Here are two ways your fashion choices can contribute to a Regenerative New Year:

  • Vintage Shopping: Opting for vintage clothing goes beyond making a style statement; it is a sustainable choice. By purchasing vintage items, you extend the lifespan of existing garments, reducing the demand for new production and minimizing waste and resource use.

  • Sustainably New or Renewed: Choose brands committed to sustainability when purchasing new clothing. Brands like Paka and Patagonia are leaders in this movement, integrating environmental responsibility into their business models.

Adorable alpaca

5. Embrace the 3 R's: Repair, Reuse, Renewable

Adopt a lifestyle that prioritizes repair, reuse, and rapidly renewable resources. Choose products made from rapidly renewable materials to reduce your environmental impact. This approach conserves resources and encourages a deeper appreciation for the items we own. By repairing and reusing, we extend the life of products, reducing the need for new resources and minimizing waste.

Choosing Rapidly Renewable Materials for New Construction:

The construction sector is currently at a crucial juncture as the importance of regenerative building materials grows in the global response to climate change and habitat destruction. The staggering forecast that we need to construct an urban area the size of New York City every month for the next 40 years emphasizes the urgency of sustainable development. Traditional construction materials like concrete and steel, which contribute to approximately 8%-11% of global carbon emissions, are no longer viable as the sole foundations of our infrastructure.

In response to rampant deforestation, which results in a net loss of 10 billion trees annually, we are witnessing the emergence of rapidly renewable, carbon-sequestering materials. Timber bamboo and Eucalyptus have emerged as strong alternatives to traditional softwoods. Bamboo, in particular, is an excellent carbon sink, with a carbon dioxide absorption rate five to six times higher than that of softwood, while Eucalyptus provides an impressive 1.5 times the efficiency. Additionally, bamboo is highly land-use efficient, requiring 73% less land than conventional softwood forestry to produce the same amount of fiber.

Both timber bamboo and Eucalyptus have the remarkable ability to rehabilitate degraded lands. They thrive in soils with low fertility and high acidity, often unsuitable for other vegetation. These plants stabilize soil, reduce erosion, and enhance biodiversity by creating habitats that support the regeneration of native flora and fauna.

Innovative companies are leading the way in the green building revolution by harnessing these materials. BamCore is revolutionizing structural framing with its timber bamboo and Eucalyptus framing systems, while Hempitecture offers a sustainable alternative for insulation. Brimstone is redefining concrete with lower carbon footprints, and Okom Wrks is progressing in insulation and structural materials with mycelium.

By embracing repair, reuse, and renewable materials, we can significantly alter the course of our environmental impact. This holistic approach integrates the restoration of our natural world with the innovation of our built environments, paving the way for a sustainable and resilient future.

Are you curious about fast-growing biogenic building materials? Read more here.

fast-growing biogenic building materials

Conclusion: Charting a Course for a Regenerative New Year

As the curtain falls on another year, our thoughts often turn to the kind of future we wish to create. The tips outlined in this blog serve as a compass, guiding us toward a more regenerative lifestyle—a path that not only heals the earth but also enriches our lives. It’s a journey of mindful consumption, active participation in the restoration of nature, innovative solutions to food waste, sustainable fashion choices, and embracing materials and practices that honor and replenish our planet's resources.

As we enter the New Year, let us carry the spirit of regeneration in every action we take. Let's share these practices within our communities, inspire each other with our stories of stewardship, and build a legacy of regeneration that will thrive for generations to come. Here's to a New Year where every step is a seed for a greener tomorrow 🌱🌍


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